The Good and Bad of Television
I don’t know about you, but I love television. I expect most people would agree with me. I don’t watch a lot of it, but I like to make it a habit to watch an hour or so every night before going to bed. However, as I’ve watched it all my life, I’ve learned a few things about it that I thought would be interesting to share.
The good of TV is rather simple. The main purpose most people watch TV is to be entertained while their minds can relax. It’s different in the way that reading a book or doing some other passive activity can entertain you. I’m all for getting out of the house and doing things, as well as reading, but a little TV at the end of the day is sometimes the only thing that can really get me to chill out.
Another purpose of television is to be entertained by the various shows. Sometimes you don’t want to relax, you want to be brought into a show, be it fiction or reality, because you enjoy the show itself. Major fans of TV shows will agree with me that it nearly pains them to miss out on their favorite program.
Another good point of TV, and the one that has to reach the furthest to make sense, is that it can help you psychologically. If you watch something funny when you’re upset, it can lift your spirits. If you watch something dramatic when you’re bored, you can clear mental blocks and feel stimulated. Even reality TV can provide the same sort of response, by putting us into a different mindset than we were in when we first sat down. You watch your favorite character battle inner demons or make you laugh every week, and you start to feel better about your own life, even if just in a small way.
But nothing is perfect. And the bad things about television just might surprise you.
The first point here is obvious as well. TV sucks up your time if you let it, which we all have on occasion. There are plenty of times when we could have been more productive and chose not to, and we have television and our own lazy willpower to thank for it.
Another is that it can pack in enough sex, drugs, and violence in an hour long program to last most people a week, yet they keep coming back for more. Humans will be humans, and it’s certainly interesting to watch shows that feature those topics, but constant stimulation from the majority of shows out there can get to be a little much.
The last point here has to do with the unrealistic expectations TV provides us with. Although we may watch our favorite show and think about how we can identify so much with at least one character, we probably aren’t looking close enough. Think about the typical fictional show. Everything is scripted, polished to perfection. There are no awkward stutters unless they’re meant to be there, everything has a purpose or larger meaning, and the whole thing is wrapped up in an hour or less. As an adult, this isn’t such a big deal. We’ve all been at life long enough to not treat it the same as a character from a show would. But think about kids, and the impact this sort of thing could have on them. If all they ever see are conversations flowing with ease, where the jokes and one-liners are all met with a laugh track or praise from others, and where the pace of time flows continuously without interrupt through a scenario, how are they going to deal with real life situations where none of that is true?
As a kid, I remember trying to talk to people like I was on a sitcom, which as you can imagine, was quite awkward. The same sort of television format just doesn’t convert to real life. Also, how many times in TV shows are otherwise-impossible pranks and plots played out to perfection? Given an impressionable mind (not always that of a child), a slightly off-center idea about life could begin to form.
TV has certainly become a large part of our lives, and won’t be going away any time soon. So it’s up to each person to only let the good parts affect them.